Roll up, roll up all the fun of the fair!
So, following the fight at Goodwood the weekend before last another bunch of ‘geezers’ were at it at Ascot this weekend. I have seen footage of both incidents and though the Ascot fight was not on the same scale as the 50 odd man brawl that happened at Goodwood, in which a man was viciously, some might say cowardly, kicked in the head as he lay stricken on the ground, it is disturbing none the less.
Reports suggest the latest fight at Ascot was ‘football-related in nature’ and there does appear to be a trend here. Any regular racegoer has no doubt at some point come across a bunch of lads having had a sniff of the barmaids apron, or other substances, singing football songs rather than discussing the chances of the top-weight in the handicap at 3.15. Not that you can lay the blame squarely at the ‘football fans’ door as I have seen plenty of scuffles down the years over all sorts of idiotic reasons.
The only answer would appear to be more security and/or a larger police presence at race days. It is a shame that racecourses have to beef-up security, many do such good work with family-fun days and alike, but with a few big lumps scattered around the Grandstand I am pretty sure most of these would be tough-guys will suddenly become little pussycats.
I know if you get a couple of proper old school tough guys intent on knocking several shades of you know what out of each other there is little you can do to stop it, but in the case of a lot of these ‘lads’ they melt quicker than a chocolate fire grate in the face of any sort of officialdom. Place a few of these security guards in and around the bars – almost bouncer like – and any potential problems can be spotted nice and early and nipped in the bud.
I have visited the Ascot Beer Festival several times down the years, fair horse racing and a selection of beers and ciders from around the country, and every year there are casualties from the hooch long before the last race. If the extra security had the authority to suggest people were no longer served all the better – I am no fan of a nanny state type scenario but some of these guys clearly have no idea of their limits or capabilities when it comes to booze.
York racecourse believes it has measures in place for their big Dante meeting this week and hopefully the headlines will only be about the horses rather than the fools.